Journaling: Letting the Overflow of Your Heart Speak Through Your Pen
Journaling is as individual as fingerprints; there is no formula, no right or wrong way to go about it. Throughout history people have kept journals for many reasons such as recording creative inspiration, developing literary and musical compositions, chronicling their daily lives, etc. Below is a sampling of the individuality expressed in journaling from people as diverse as notable historic figures Leonardo da Vinci and Charles Spurgeon to a present-day blogger.
When I was in my early teens I kept a diary. I filled it with my secrets, my thoughts and adventures, my crushes, my fantasies and mostly the things that I wasn’t willing to tell anyone else. I kept the diary locked and hidden underneath my underwear in a drawer in the room that I shared with my sister. One day I realized that my two older brothers were snickering at me. They began to tease me, and soon enough I realized that their sly comments were peppered with details—direct quotes—from my diary. I was horrified, mortified, hurt, but I learned a valuable lesson: never record my secret thoughts on paper and thus render myself vulnerable to such an invasion of my privacy again. This eventually translated to all things written especially considering the digital world in which we live: I will not tweet, email, pm or post anything that I don’t deem appropriate for public consumption.
I had heard people say that they kept a journal of various sorts—gratitude, prayer, inspiration, travel, just for the sake of recording life; so, I wanted to try to keep a journal as an enhancement to my morning devotional time. Throughout the years, I would journal sporadically but, honestly, journaling felt more like self-imposed spiritual homework than an enhancement of any sort. And even though I addressed my entries to God, I was careful about what I wrote because I still felt that injury of the invasion of my privacy from my childhood.
At the beginning of 2017 when I was in my morning devotion, I felt/heard that I must journal every day to unlock something that had been tugging at me over the past several months. In obedience and out of curiosity, I put my pen to paper and let the words flow. I was amazed at the release that I felt and how effortlessly words flowed onto the pages of my journal. Since then, I have been journaling daily. And that “something that had been tugging at me” began to crystallize. It was not clear at the beginning what was happening because I just wrote whatever came out of me when I put pen to paper. Truly, there were days when I wrote something like “Help me Lord” or “What is Your will LORD?” or “I wait” because it felt like I had hit dry spots. But after about 2 months of what felt like randomness, I again felt/heard that it was time to extract what had been revealed to me. So, on a long road trip while my husband drove, I brought along my journal and some blank paper. I read what I had written and wrote down what had been revealed. From those extractions, I accumulated 16 pages of data that revealed, plan, vision, purpose and scriptural foundation for what initially was just a phrase that I had heard during prayer. To say that I was filled with awe from all that had been revealed would be an understatement.
I am now an enthusiastic practitioner of and advocate for journaling. At the end of each session of morning devotion, I pick up my journal and pen and let the overflow of my heart speak through my pen. As a result, I have been given visions for so many areas of my life. I receive answers for questions that I ask and solutions to problems that I face and creative inspiration in so many ways.
As I researched the topic for this blog post, I discovered many other Christians who have discovered the benefits that journaling affords to spiritual growth and development. In her post “Why Every Christian Should Keep a Journal” Ali Enos writes: “Journaling has become one of the ways that I best connect with God. Journaling helps me to persevere in the journey I’m on with Christ and it also helps me to open up to God. It helps me to be more honest with God and with myself.” Click here for the full article that speaks beautifully of her deepening relationship with God.
Just as walking is a simple exercise to improve physical health, journaling is a simple activity to improve spiritual health. As I have embarked on my own spiritual exercise program which includes prayer, reading the Bible daily, and practicing quietness so I can listen when God speaks, journaling has become a part of my daily devotion that has allowed me to connect my mind, emotions, and spirit on a deeper level.
I am so thankful for this blessing to release everything to God and to allow Him to speak to me and through me. Now through journaling, I can be vulnerable and honest and unfettered. I still won’t ever keep a diary just for the sake of recording my secrets, nor will I ever tweet, email, pm or post anything that I don’t want to be seen or repeated. But I am no longer afraid to record my thoughts, dreams, and desires in my journal to God. Because with God I am safe and I am free.